∞ Apple retail chief leaves for JC Penney

Apple Vice President Ron Johnson will leave the company and take over as the CEO of JC Penney.

[ad#Google Adsense 300×250 in story]Johnson has been at the heart of Apple’s retail organization since it began a decade ago. He came to Apple from Target where he was the vice president of merchandising when he left.

Johnson will take over from current CEO Mike Ullman on November 1, 2011. Johnson will also join the JC Penney Board of Directors on August 1, 2011.

Ullman’s statement on Johnson’s appointment makes it clear why they want and need him to take over.

“He is widely recognized and highly regarded in the retail industry for his creativity and innovation, his commitment to empowering employees to deliver an unparalleled customer experience, and to making stores exciting places where people love to shop,” said Ullman. “His tremendous accomplishments at Apple and Target speak to his great consumer merchandising, marketing and operational talent.”

Apple told AllThingsD that they are “actively recruiting for his replacement.”